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7 athletes who couldn't stay away from their favourite game

Can Paul Galvin learn anything from these contemporaries?

WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Source: Jonathan Bachman

AN ATHLETE DIES twice, the saying goes, once when they retire and again when they stop breathing many years later.

Finishing up a career at a time most other careers are just reaching maturity is a tough pill to swallow. So with Paul Galvin yesterday deciding to return to the inter-county football scene, we felt we had better take a look at some other athletes who missed the game and had to come back for another go (boxers don’t count).

Mario Lemieux

Retired: 1997

Comeback: 2000.

The Canadian ice hockey legend hung up his skates before returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a part-owner and was soon tempted back into the rink. In his mid-30s he didn’t disappoint and helped the Penguins into the conference finals in 2000. He would go on to contribute 77 goals before retiring again at the age 0f 40 in 2006.

PENGUINS LEMIEUX RETIRING HOCKEY Source: AP/Press Association Images

Hulk Hogan rating: 6

Victor Matfield

Retired: 2011

Comeback: 2014

The South African second row bowed out of rugby when his country were knocked out of the World Cup by Australia in Wellington.

After three years sidelined, though, the hunger was rekindled last season and the lock returned first as a player/coach with the Blue Bulls and then to the international scene. Later this year, a 38-year-old Matfield will announce a second post-World Cup retirement.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2011 - Quarter Final - South Africa v Australia - Wellington Regional Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Hulk Hogan Rating: To be determined, brother.

Martina Hingis

Retired: 2003

Comeback: 2005

The Swiss tennis star zipped up her racquet bag with seven Grand Slam titles to her name at the tender age of 22. After recovering from persistent knee injuries she made a tentative return to the game in early 2005 before entering the 2006 Australian Open.

Though singles success eluded her, Hingis did win a mixed doubles title in Melbourne and was triumphant in the same event this year and in Wimbledon last year.

JAPAN TENNIS PAN PACIFIC OPEN Source: AP/Press Association Images

Hulk Hogan rating: 7

Brian Corcoran

Retirement: 2001

Comeback: 2004

The Cork hurling star returned in perfect fashion, helping the Rebel county to back-to-back All-Ireland titles after putting the helmet back on after a two and a half year absence.

Brian Corcoran 1993 Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Hulk Hogan rating: 9

Brett Favre

Retired: 2008 (twice)

Comeback: 2008, 2009

A bit like James Brown acting like he needs a blanket mid-performance, Brett Favre loved a good retirement. He finished up with the Packers in 2008, before returning with the New York Jets the same year. Then he retired again.

Favre finally finished up with American football in 2010 after two years with the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings Patriots Football Source: AP/Press Association Images

Hulk Hogan rating: (for sheer quantity) 10

Paul Scholes

Retired: 2011

Comeback: 2012

Retirement, testimonial, a coaching position… Paul Scholes got the lot after quietly calling it a day at the end of Manchester United’s 2010-11 season, but he could only sit out for six months.

Scholes came within minutes of winning a Premier League title in his first half-season back, but Sergio (Aguerrrrooo!) Aguero forced him to wait 12 months before he collected his last medal in his last appearance at Old Trafford.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Swansea City - Old Trafford Source: EMPICS Sport

Hulk Hogan rating: 8

Michael Phelps

Retirement: 2012

Comeback: 2014

The most successful Olympian of all time hung up his Speedos in London and sounded as if he’d never look back. But last year, he dipped a toe back in the water. He is currently approaching the end of a six-month suspension for drink driving and his times in the pool thus far have been poor by the high standards in US swimming.

Phelps Comeback Swimming Source: AP/Press Association Images

Hulk Hogan rating: 4.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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